How to clean up gasoline spill on concrete?

Hey, man, not to bother you… But, it looks like you’ve spilled some gasoline on concrete, y’know. This is probably the tenth time we’re starting the text with a stoner comedy line. Neither does the movie nor the quote exist, but who cares? We’re here to talk about cleaning up some gasoline!

Spilled gasoline ain’t such a rare sight to see. It’s happened quite a lot and to a good number of us. And, of course, one eventually cleans it in their own way. Still, shouldn’t there be some kind of a procedure? Now, if you’re wondering how to safely clean up a gasoline spill… Yup, feel free to check what we’ve prepared for you today in the article below!

First of all, you’ll want to stop the spill from spreading. Next up you’ll want to soak up the spill using trisodium phosphate or plain ol’ baking soda. The gasoline will clump up; you’ll be able to pick it up with a broom. Once you’ve collected it into a bin, call the local hazardous waste management company.

That’s not even close to what we’ve got in store for today! Continue reading if you’re curious about what’s the rest like!

Table of Contents

Wait, doesn’t gasoline evaporate?

Now, that’s absolutely correct! Gasoline does evaporate! However, how long will that process last depends on the type of surface. More precisely: the type of surface it’s spilled onto. Whatever the surface is – you’ll need to clean it up immediately. We’ll elaborate on why!

The thing is: gasoline’s highly flammable. To be precise: it’s the fumes that burn, not the liquid itself. Wherever there’s liquid – there are fumes. That’s because gasoline has a low flash point of -40°F A(-40°C). It’s the temperature at which it releases these flammable vapors.

We’ll skip the whole even-a-tiny-spark talk. It’s like the most standard thing on this website. Just don’t smoke anywhere near a gas station!

Exactly how fast does it evaporate?

The evaporation process can last from days to years, not to mention – decades. Of course, the evaporation length depends on the amount that’s spilled. Also, as we’ve said, we need to consider the surface it’s spilled onto. We’ve already published an article on the speed of the evaporation process. Feel free to read it if you’ve got some free time on your hands!

But, does gasoline evaporate without a gas cap?

Think a missing gas cap changes something? Well, it actually does! Otherwise, what would be the point of it? Anyway, one should avoid driving without one, and here we’ll show you why!

Of course, gasoline will start to evaporate if there’s no gas cap present. Although, to be frank, it won’t have a greater effect on your fuel’s efficiency. It will make it less potent by an insignificant percentage. However, you don’t want to drive without one, as it can do some damage to your engine. As soon as you’re aware that it’s gone – find a way to replace it instantly!

More tips on the subject of this paragraph you’ll find right here.

Does gasoline evaporate on concrete?

As we’ve said, gasoline will eventually evaporate. It doesn’t matter what surface it’s spilled onto; it will happen at a certain point. How long will it take for that to happen – depends much on the surface. You’ll agree that concrete fits the definition of a surface, right? Not just any surface, but an impervious one!

A so-called impervious surface won’t let the gasoline go under it. For instance, plain old soil is a pervious surface. Needless to say, gasoline spilled on concrete will evaporate quicker.

Okay, so now that we’ve given you a bit of an overview, it’s time to focus on our main subject for today! Let’s see how you’ll clean up a gasoline spill on concrete! Stay tuned for some useful info!

Concrete after the gasoline spill was cleansed.

How to clean up a gasoline spill on concrete?

Now we’ll show you the process of cleaning up a gasoline spill on concrete. You’ll notice that it’s in the form of a little step-by-step guide!

#1 Handle the spillage

You’ll want to stop the evil (read: gasoline spill) at its source, as they say. In other words: if you’ve knocked over your gasoline container, handle it right away. Return it to an upright position, and close the lid. Stop the spill from getting a lot worse! Let’s say the source of the spillage is a gasoline pump. You’ll want to make sure that it has been completely shut off!

Now, there are times when it’s not possible to stop the spillage. A spill might come as a result of an unstoppable leak. If that’s to happen, you won’t have a fun time stopping the spill from getting worse. What you’ll want to do is find a bucket big enough to contain the leak. Make sure it’s not leaky itself, and that it won’t overflow!

Additionally, you’ll want to create a barrier to stop the gasoline from flowing. Letting the spill spread won’t do any good to anyone. Anyway, you might want to use an ordinary beach towel for this. Also, a couple of heavy boxes or some wood might help, too! Ensure the spill doesn’t spread towards any piece of electric equipment. Or: any objects that produce heat (stoves, el. outlets, etc.). Cover the sensitive items with a piece of plastic tarp.

Lastly, don’t forget to let the air flow freely through the affected area. Ventilate the premises since gasoline fumes are, as we’ve said, pretty darn hazardous. Since we’re talking concrete, you mightn’t have to do this. Unless it’s a garage or somethin’.

#2 It’s soaking time!

Once you’re done making sure the spill won’t spread out, it’s time to soak up the spill. In an ideal setting, your substance of choice would be TSP. Or, for those of you that don’t know, trisodium phosphate. In case you’re not in the position to use it, opt for sawdust, sand, or clay cat litter. You’ll want to react instantly and cover the spill with one of the mentioned substances.

Got non of the items we’ve talked about above? It’s also alright to use baking soda, cornstarch, or even – flour. Yeah, just plain old household inventory. Anyway, soak the spill like there’s no tomorrow. You’ll see – it might take some time before the whole spill’s soaked up.

Now that that’s over, let the substance sit for about 1-2 hours or so. That will give it time to work with the spill. How exactly does this work? The substance will help turn the gasoline into something that resembles a paste. Needless to say, you’ll be able to easily pick it up.

Repeat the process until there isn’t any gasoline that hasn’t clumped up. It may be a rough sentence construction, but you get the point!

#3 Disposal

Next, you’ll want to find a broom or a dustpan. You’ll need to sweep up the gasoline clumps from the concrete. Find a container for the gas clumps. It might be a trash can or a similar basket. However, try not to cover the container. This will trap hazardous vapors which can only increase the risk of an accident.

Once that’s done, scrape up any gasoline that’s left. Use a squeegee (what a cute word!) or a plain ol’ plastic scraper. Throw the scraped substance into the disposal bin of choice.

Before you start cleaning the spot using the water & soap combo, there’s something you gotta do. Call the hazard management center in your area for some help with the disposal. See if you can get any instructions on what to do with the hazardous waste. There are two options. Either they’ll:

  • deal with the mess themselves (by dispatching a team to your location). 

or they’ll:

  • give you the necessary advice on how to dispose of it yourself. 

Keep in mind: you’ll also throw the garbage bins or whatever you’ve used to collect the spill. For more tips on safe gasoline disposal, read our article on the very same subject.

#4 Hot water & soap to the rescue!

The last thing you’ll do is to clean the area that the spill has affected. You’ll use some cloth or a regular old sponge with hot water. Be very liberal about applying the liquid dish detergent onto the site of the spill. Clean until there’s a thick layer of foam under your feet. You’ll want to scrub the stain out of the material world.

After that’s done, flood the area using fresh water and dry it out using a towel. Needless to say, wash each part of your body that has come into contact with the stain or the fumes. Most notably: your hands.

And that’s how you clean a gasoline spill on concrete! That should’ve taken care of the spill as if it was never there!

Final thoughts

There you have it! Now you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge to clean up a gasoline spill on concrete! If something’s to go awry, you know how to deal with it!

For more tips on cleaning gasoline and other interesting info, visit our blog.